Seeing the black hole at the center of our galaxy is “just the beginning,” says researcher Katie Bouman

LOS ANGELES: More than fifteen years after his last appearance as a Jedi Knight, Ewan McGregor has learned the lessons of age and experience to reprise the role of “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” the new Star Wars series.

When it was released in 1999, The Phantom Menace sparked a great deal of excitement, a new episode in a saga long mourned by fans after the first trilogy. But the film had more than one disappointed with its often agreed-upon dialogue, its intricate political-spatial intrigue, and the zany Jar Jar Binks.

For Ewan McGregor, who at the time took on the iconic role of Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi, played by Alec Guinness, the experience was painful.

“One of the difficulties for me being in these prequels is that they didn’t seem to be well received when they came out,” the actor said during a press conference organized by Virtual Press to introduce the Disney+ series.

“Since there were no social networks, there was no direct connection to the fans at the time. Besides, the fans were kids,” he notes.

But with hindsight, Ewan McGregor could see that the trilogy he took part in resonated with Star Wars fans, especially the youngest.

“It reconciled me a bit with those films I think, and also with my experience in the Star Wars universe,” the actor explained.

Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen, who played Anakin Skywalker alongside him, are back for a six-part miniseries set chronologically between the events of the prequels and the first Star Wars film in 1977.

Obi-Wan Kenobi, in particular, is set a decade after the tragic end of Revenge of the Sith, where the evil Emperor Palpatine seizes power and converts Kenobi’s young apprentice to the dark side, who becomes the sinister Darth Vader.

Played by McGregor, the Jedi Knight lives a dark and disillusioned life on the Tatooine desert.

“Obi-Wan has been in hiding for ten years, unable to communicate with any of his former comrades and really isolated,” says the actor.

“He can’t use the Force. So he kind of lost his faith. He’s like someone who has strayed from his religion… The only responsibility he has left from his past life is to watch over Luke Skywalker,” he points out.

Kenobi won’t be bored for long as he contends with the Inquisitors, terrifying villains tasked by the Empire to wipe out the few surviving Jedi.

Inspired by Alec Guiness

Obi-Wan Kenobi is the result of Disney’s recent decision to move the immensely rich and lucrative Star Wars universe from movies to television.

The saga must play a central role in the commercial strategy of Disney+, the video-on-demand platform launched by the world’s leading entertainment company.

Obi-Wan Kenobi will soon be followed by the series Andor, prequel to the movie Rogue One, then a new season of the hit The Mandalorian.

Other Star Wars series are in the works, including Ahsoka and The Acolyte.

Disney, on the other hand, decided to limit the films after the disappointing performance of “Solo” in 2018. The most conservative fans didn’t like it when a young actor took over from Harrisson Ford to play the emblematic space smuggler.

Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy admitted that in hindsight it was a bad idea.

Therefore, to avoid this kind of reaction, The Mandalorian series has chosen to use advanced technologies to artificially rejuvenate the stars of the original films, even computer-generating digital avatars of now-deceased actors.

That doesn’t stop Ewan McGregor from following in the footsteps of Alec Guinness, a star he says continues to draw inspiration from.

“Now that I’m getting closer to Alec Guinness’ age, it’s getting interesting… my Obi-Wan is a little closer to his,” says the 51-year-old actor.

“It’s all from Alec Guinness. He always had that mischievous twinkle in his eye…that twinkle eye. I always try to think of him, smell him around, hear him say his lines,” he explains.

The first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi will be available on Disney+ on May 27th.

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